Overseas tourism representatives for Anguilla here for a weeklong workshop.
ANGUILLA–The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) hosted a welcoming ceremony on the picturesque lawn of its headquarters on Sunday evening, September 9, to officially open its weeklong 2018 marketing workshop entitled “Transforming the Anguilla Experience.”
The hospitality marketing experts representing North America, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Puerto Rico and South America were warmly welcomed during the formal opening ceremony by Governor Tim Foy, Chief Minister Victor Banks, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Cardigan Connor, Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association President Delroy Lake and ATB Chairperson Donna Banks. Mistress of Ceremonies Shellya Rogers-Webster, who is ATB Manager of Corporate Affairs, set the tone for the relaxed and professional programme, introducing speakers and the evening’s musical and spoken word entertainment, the Mayoumba Folkloric Theatre and T-The Poet.
Rogers-Webster said, “We must remain committed to working together to enhance the tourism experience while encouraging and facilitating open dialogue between all industry partners. This is an evening to get to know the members of the ATB team, celebrate our resilience in the wake of Hurricane Irma and think about the journey ahead.”
The Governor welcomed all gathered and said, “It is obvious that tourism is the lifeblood of Anguilla. Every arriving tourist provides an income to someone either directly or indirectly and is a fundamental multiplier to the economy that drives Anguilla forward. Promoting our tourist industry to make it more resilient, to make it stronger is fundamental to Anguilla’s future.” He added, “There are three things that we must do to drive our product: improve access to the island; better marketing of the island especially within the UK; and correcting negative and erroneous perceptions concerning the island, while stressing Anguilla’s rich cultural heritage.”
Chief Minister Banks welcomed the marketing agents and representatives who assist Anguilla with its tourism industry development. He stressed the importance of making the beginning-to-end Anguilla experience better. He said, “We must leverage what we have and make it even better.”
Connor gave the formal address, covering a number of issues including the pride that every Anguillian should take in their island being named the 2018 Number One Island in the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda. He said, “Now is the time to confront our future as a tourism destination. It can no longer be business as usual. Fundamental issues need to be addressed now. Tourism is an experience; it is more than a bed, a beach or a restaurant, but instead is a sum total of all the experiences that the traveller has from the time they begin the information search on Anguilla to the time they return home.” He said Anguilla must tweak and enhance the total travel experience. This includes information access with clear and robust messaging, ease of booking through optimised technology, convenient and timely access to the island with competitive price-points, an efficient and professional arrival processes, and expansion of the message that Anguilla is not only for the rich and famous.
Saying that Anguilla must embark on a clean-up campaign and enforce the laws that punish persons who litter, Connor covered many areas that should be improved, to include enhanced retail areas with duty-free shopping and expanded experiences and activities to provide a product that is beyond extraordinary. He ended by challenging all to transform the Anguilla experience through training, better customer service, enhanced activities and cleaning of the island.
ATB Chairperson Banks closed the programme by having the marketing representatives stand and be recognised. Covering the mission of the ATB, she thanked the Governor and the government for their support and additional financing which will enable the ATB to step up their game and keep the island competitive. She ended by recognising local stakeholders who are assisting with the weeklong activities in various ways, as well as the entire ATB staff who work tirelessly to enhance Anguilla’s tourism industry.